Selected verses from Genesis 22
Abraham was told by God to sacrifice his son – the son of promise – the dear child Abraham and Sarah had waited a century to have. It was this very son, Isaac, whom Abraham was to take to the mountaintop and sacrifice – to kill.
As Abraham and Isaac approached the fateful place, Isaac looked around, saw the fire and wood, but no animal for the offering. “…Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Isaac asked his father.
“Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide…’” And he did. We know the story well. As Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son, the Lord stopped him, and provided a ram to take Isaac’s place. God provided.
The Lord tested Abraham to see if he feared God (vv. 1, 12). A test from God is designed to move you forward in faith. The purpose of Satan’s temptations is to trip you up so you will fall backward. This was a test. And Abraham passed. He was blessed accordingly (verses 15-18). Why the blessing? Because God is gracious and Abraham obeyed God (verse 18).
This is part of our covenantal relationship with God. If we obey God and the conditions of his covenant, God promises blessings (because he graciously sets the terms of the covenant, not because he must). If we disobey, he promises curses. What either of those may look like is not so clear. That God promises to work this way is very clear.
I wonder what blessings God desires to pour out upon us for our faithfulness today. Deeper faith maybe? More influence for the Kingdom perhaps? Greater responsibility? God specifically said Abraham’s descendants would be blessed through his faithfulness. Might our obedience now impact our children and our children’s children later? I believe the answer is “yes” to all those questions.
If God chooses to bless us in material ways, that’s fine. (Of course, we ought to thank God every day for the many “material” blessings we have already received from him.) But shouldn’t the blessings we desire be things like, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is heaven”? And shouldn’t the provisions we hope God will bestow upon us be along the lines of an ever-increasing knowledge of and communion with him, a growing conformity to his likeness, and an ever-expanding influence for his Kingdom?
Abraham was faithful and God blessed him. Where is God calling you to greater faithfulness in your life?
1. Do you agree with this devotion? Do you believe God still operates in this same “blessings and curses” motif in the new covenant? Why or why not? What Scripture might you appeal to?
2. Abraham was told to sacrifice the whole world to him – his beloved son. What form of sacrificial living is God calling you to?
3. What is preventing you from trusting God to provide for you?
4. What obstacles are getting in the way of your obedience to God?
5. What do you need to do to help you faithfully respond to God’s call in your life?
6. What are the kinds of things you normally ask God to bless you with?